After starting last week defeating Bethany in a home doubleheader and improving to 6-2 in the KCAC, Tabor College hit the road for a nine-inning game at Wichita State on Wednesday and at Saint Gregory?s University in Tulsa on Saturday.
The Bluejays lost to the Shockers 15-3 at Eck Stadium.
Tabor ended the week sweeping Saint Gregory?s 13-8 in the first game and 19-8 in the second game.
Wichita State?Wednesday?s game at the revamped Eck Stadium marked the second consecutive season the Bluejays have traveled to play the traditional Division I baseball power.
Former Shocker slugger and current Tabor coach Mark Standiford hopes the matchup will become an annual event.
?It?s always nice to go back,? Standiford said. ?I have the utmost respect for (Coach) Gene (Stephenson), obviously, I played for him. He?s taught me a lot as far as coaching goes. Anytime I?can go back and play and just be involved, it?s nice.?
Standiford added, ?I?ll go back and play every year as long as they?ll have me. It?s good for those kids to go play in that atmosphere. It?s good for morale and it?s good for recruiting.?
Tabor took an early 3-0 lead over the Shockers and held it until the bottom of the fourth.
The Bluejays wasted no time, scoring a run in their first at bat. The early 1-0 lead came courtesy of an RBI?from Andrew Cook that drove in C.J. Henrichsen.
Extending its lead to 3-0 in the top of the second, Tabor found more scoring from Henrichsen. This time from the plate. The sophomore followed a Dustin Dick ground-rule double that moved Paul Bridenbaugh to third base, with a two-RBI single.
Having scouted WSU?s starting pitcher, freshman Tobin Mateychick, Standiford saw an opportunity for offense.
?We looked at his numbers and so forth. He had given up one hit in 10 innings, which is pretty good,? he said.
?He had shown an occasion to be wild. Our approach was we were going to swing at the fastball early and that?s it. That approach helped us. We got some pitches to hit.?
In the bottom of the third the Shockers ended Will Wood?s two-inning no-hit shutout, scoring their first run with an RBI?single by Ryan Jones.
Scoring two more runs in the fourth, WSU tied the game at three.
Then came the fifth inning.
Wichita State scored six runs, sparked by a solo homerun by Preston Springer and a two-run shot from Johnny Coy.
?The wind was howling out,? Standiford said. ?We started getting down a little bit, and we left some balls up in the strike zone. When that winds blowing out, you can hit ?em out in a hurry.?
The Shockers never looked back, scoring three more in the sixth and three in the seventh to end the game 15-3. Mateychick earned the pitching victory, going five innings, striking out four and giving up three earned runs.
Wood was the losing pitcher, seeing four innings on the mound. He gave up five earned runs and struck out one.
Despite the loss, Standiford thinks playing such a high level of competition will benefit the Bluejays down the road.
?I think it always helps when you can go out and play in an atmosphere and give you some confidence to play.?
St. Gregory?s ?Riding the wave of confidence from the early innings at Wichita State, Tabor traveled to Tulsa on Saturday and swept Saint Gregory?s in a doubleheader.
In the first game, Tabor came back from a 6-0 deficit through three innings, scoring two runs in the fourth, five in the fifth, one in the sixth and six in the seventh.
Pitcher Tyler Fenton picked up the victory out of the bullpen. The junior went 4.3 innings, giving up two earned run and striking out three.
Several Bluejays had mulitiple hits, led by Paul Briden?baugh. The senior finished 5-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
David Fuentes came in as a pinch hitter and finished 3-for-4 with a homerun and four RBI.
Nathan Rausch was 3-for-5 with two RBI and Andrew Cook was 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. C.J. Henrichsen had three RBI.
In the second game, Tabor jumped to an early 4-0 advantage after its first at bat, but found itself down 5-4 after the first inning.
Matching runs with Saint Gregory in the second inning with two, Tabor widened its margin to 12-7 after scoring four runs in the third and two runs in the fourth.
Saint Gregory?s was able to get another run in the bottom of the fifth closing the Tabor gap to 12-8.
Not leaving any doubt, the Bluejays scored four runs in the sixth and three runs in the seventh to end the ball game.
Bridenbaugh was the winning pitcher, working for two hitless, shutout innings.
Dustin Dick finished 2-for-3 scoring three runs. Briden?baugh was 4-for-5 with a home run and an RBI.
Nathan Rausch hit two home runs and was 3-for-5 with six RBI.
?We went out and swung the bat well,? Standiford said. ?Our bats really came alive there. We got (37) hits in a doubleheader.?
Tabor finished the week 4-1 and improved to 19-11 overall.
Tabor will travel to Leaven?worth on Friday to resume KCAC play against St. Mary University. Saturday Tabor will return to Hillsboro to host the Spires.
St. Mary is 2-10 in the KCAC and 2-22 overall.
?If we start to look at their record and assume stuff and take stuff for granted, they?ll come up and bite you,? said Standiford.